CEIPI Launches Training Program For Technical Judges Of Unified Patent Court29/09/2015 by Intellectual Property Watch 1 CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The views expressed in this column are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors.By Xavier Seuba, CEIPI Senior Lecturer and ResearcherOne of the major imminent changes in the international patent system is the establishment of the Unified Patent Court. The agreement to create this tribunal was signed by 25 European Union States in 2013, and it is foreseen that the Court will be operational by the end of 2016. Setting up of a single tribunal with competence to decide on both validity and infringement disputes is an old European aspiration, and must be seen in the context of the global trend of creating specialized intellectual property tribunals. In this case, the aim is to respond to the high costs, forum shopping and lack of legal certainty that are generally attributed to the current system of adjudicating disputes concerning European patents. Among the many new features of the Court, the presence of technical judges is particularly notable. Technical judges are judges with a scientific background, for instance, mechanical engineers, chemists and the like. They will integrate the multinational panels of the Court, together with legally qualified judges.Technical judges do, in fact, already exist in some countries, such as Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark. In other countries, like the United Kingdom, patent judges normally have a scientific background even if they are not formally recognized as technical judges. The goal is essentially to provide the court with more elements to decide on the technical merits of the case, particularly but not only in relation to disputes relating to validity.In September 2015, the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI), of the University of Strasbourg, launched a training program for the technical judges of the Unified Patent Court. The program [pdf], which is co-sponsored by the French Institut national de la propriété industrielle, counts participation of 43 persons, most of them already pre-selected to become technical judges of the new court.During the months of September, October and November, 17 high-ranking judges from all over Europe, as well as renowned scholars and experts in patent law, will train candidates to become technical judges of the new court. The Chair of the Scientific Board of the CEIPI Training Program is Rt. Hon. Professor Sir Robin Jacob, and the Directors of the Program are Professor Christophe Geiger, General Director of CEIPI, and Xavier Seuba, Senior Lecturer and Researcher at CEIPI. The full list is available here [pdf].The Unified Patent Court does not exist in isolation, in the sense that it must interact with the Court of Justice of the European Union and has, as primary source of law, European Union law. This means that the Court is mandated to take into consideration the broader legal context. Naturally, this may give way to very interesting interactions between patent law and norms pertaining to other legal regimes, such as competition law, private international law and human rights law. The Court will have a number of tools to rightly address these interactions and, in recognition of the growing complexity of patent adjudication, the CEIPI Training Program for Technically Qualified Judges of the Unified Patent Court incorporates several sessions devoted to these other substantive legal areas and their relevance for the new court.The Unified Patent Court is a challenging project from the technical, political and legal point of view. Technically speaking, the functioning court requires a fine internal coordination of the seats in Luxembourg, Paris, London, Munich and many local and regional divisions.From the political point of view, many hurdles are in the way of the court. Spain has for instance decided to stay out of the procedure because of the linguistic regime, while crucial political events, such as the United Kingdom referendum, may still have an impact on the new Court.Finally, from the legal point of view, the regime is not only highly sophisticated but also totally new for all involved actors, including judges. This is the reason why the work with the new judges of the Court – many of them highly experienced judges in their home countries – is a critical aspect for the success of the new Court and for the development of a more efficient, fairer and truly integrated European patent system. 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